The Kraft Family Israel Football League had two games this weekend, and they were polar opposites. On Thursday night in the Jerusalem rivalry game, the Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions barely held off the Judean Rebels 36-30 to stay undefeated. On Saturday night, the Petah Tikva ‘Mike’s Place’ Troopers got into cruise control mode early on, handily defeating the Mazkeret Batya ‘Pointer’ Silverbacks 54-6.
Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions 36 – Judean Rebels 30
The Rebels fumbled the very first snap of the game, setting the Lions up in position to take an early 8-0 lead on a Binyamin Schultz run. The Lions were able to stop the Rebels on 4th-and-1, but the Rebel defense returned the favor. Schultz picked off Rebels’ QB Chaim Aaron’s pass, but Shmuel Gallor strip-sacked David Abell, setting up a Jeff Balaban touchdown run to start off the second quarter, tie 8. The teams exchanged punts, but Lions’ returner Ori Refaelowitz muffed the catch and the Rebels’ David Salem jumped on the ball. Tzvi Sklar and Neria Granevich sacked Balaban on 4th down, and Abell took the ball into the end-zone himself for a 16-8 Lions lead. Aaron threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Yonatan Assaraf (16-14) and after a successful onside kick Aaron found Assaraf again for his second score in as many minutes (22-16 Rebels). Abell found Jerome Wojtalik for a 16-yard touchdown, tying the game at 22 right before the break.
At the beginning of the second half, Jason Hess stripped Wojatlik of the ball and recovered for the Judeans, but they were forced to punt. Abell took in another keeper for a TD, 30-22 Lions. Granevich and Schultz tackled Balaban on 4th down, and Abell tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ezzy Jaski to start off the 4th quarter, 36-22. Balaban carried in a keeper to make it a 1-score game with 9 minutes to go, 36-30. The Rebels converted another successful onside kick, but Leib Sklar stripped Aaron of the ball and Abell recovered for the Lions. The Lions turned the ball over on downs following a Jeremiah Jelski sack of Abell, and the Rebels turned the ball over on downs following a Leib Sklar sack of Aaron, allowing the Lions to escape unscathed.
Abell completed 10/18 passes for 123 yards and 2 scores, adding 46 yards and 2 scores on the ground. Wojtalik finished 12-95 rushing and 5-51-1 receiving. Granevich lead the defense with 11 tackles, 2 TFL and half a sack. Sklar registered 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, and Mordy Charnowitz added 8 tackles and 1 TFL.
Aaron completed 3/8 passes for 78 yards, 2 scores and a pick. Assaraf finished his career day with 3 catches for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Avi Landesman had 25 rushing yards. Jelski lead the ‘D’ with 11 tackles, 2.5 TFL and a sack, Aaron had 9 tackles, and Chesky Tomor added 7.
Both teams play the Haifa Underdogs next. The Rebels will host them this Thursday night, and the Lions will host them next Thursday night.
Petah Tikva ‘Mike’s Place’ Troopers 54 – Mazkeret Batya ‘Pointer’ Silverbacks 6
The Troopers got off to their usual quick start, with a 43-yard touchdown run by Dani Eastman on the very first play from scrimmage, 8-0. The Silverbacks punted, and Eastman took in a 7-yard TD run (14-0) after two straight completions from Avrami Farkas to Danny Mikhailov. Mazkeret Batya QB Mickey Jules lost a snap and Petah Tikva’s Anthony Morales recovered. Eastman ran in another score (22-0) and Mazkeret punted on the first play of the second quarter. Farkas connected with Mikhailov for a 43-yard touchdown pass (30-0), and Enrique Roth blocked a 30-yard Tim Plotkin field goal attempt. Farkas found Reiz for another score with 1:17 to play in the half (38-0), leaving enough time left before halftime for both teams to turn the ball over on downs.
Mazkeret Batya attempted another field goal on their first drive of the half, but a bad snap gave the Troopers the ball at midfield. Ala Shalabny caught a touchdown pass from Farkas (46-0) and on 4th-and-2 Jules threw a screen pass to Gal Dagan who rumbled 51 yards to put the Silverbacks on the board, 46-6. Farkas and Reiz connected for another score on the first play of the 4th quarter to make the score 54-6. A bad snap on a punt attempt gave the Troopers great field position, but Chris Davis fumbled the ball and Daniel Cohen recovered for the hosts. Luke Hutkin sacked Jules twice on the ensuing drive, including on 4th-and-goal. The Troopers punted before Mazkeret let the game clock run out.
Farkas completed 14/25 passes for 204 yards and 4 TDs. Eatsman ran 7 times for 131 yards and 3 TDs. Reiz caught 5-59-2 and Mikhailov caught 3-74-1. Hutkin lead the defense with 9 tackles, 3 TFL and 2 sacks, and Jose Bejar added 6 and a TFL.
Jules completed 3/11 passes for 88 yards and a score. Dagan once again lead the team in rushing yards (79) and receiving yards (51) as well as scoring his team’s only touchdown for the umpteenth time this season. Aviram Johnson had a good day on defense, racking up 10 tackles and a breakup. Ohad Samuely added 6 tackles.
The Silverbacks travel to Beersheva to play the rival Black Swarm and the Troopers have a week off before hosting the Hammers next week.